Monday, 27 October 2008

Lurking Rhythmically: Curse/Or: Not a peaceful dream sequence

Lurking Rhythmically: Curse/Or: Not a peaceful dream sequence

Dang I'm bad at the internets.
Either that or they're cross with me because for the life of me I can't comment on your blog, Palette.
It just won't let me.
Possibly something to do with the subscribe-y doovy? Is that new?

In the meantime I will write my comments here!

its voice barbed wire and mutilated dogs

This is a fantastic sentence as each reader will construct a unique and personally tailored terrifying audio to go with the already freaky dream imagery.
The 'evil in the guise of something usually harmless' dream is a shocker to have and it'll be great to see where this goes.

Now back to trying to master this new-fangled technology!

How Do I Love Thee...

I would kill for you.

Not like on request or anything.

I've got this list I'm working my way through.

But I'd dedicate it to you.

Like a book or a song.

Oh, what?

That's still romantic, isn't it?


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Adventures In Language Modification Update

If you stop using qualifiers, emoticons and and contractions all at once in your emails and SMS everyone will think you are cross with them.

Some of them will then apologise for things you did not even know they had done.

This is a very informative side effect.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

I Kind Of Sort Of Understand To An Extent What You Are Talking About. Maybe.

Because my brain is hand-crafted from the finest Stupid, the closer it gets to NaNoWriMo the more hung up I get about language.

I use a lot of qualifiers in both my written and verbal communication.
A lot.
Until I thought about it I hadn’t noticed just how many.
Hardly a sentence goes by without me throwing in a ‘somewhat’ or a ‘pretty’ or a ‘probably’ or something of the ilk and I decided that it would be amusing and slightly masochistic to try to go a week without using qualifiers.*
To try and cut down in the long run.

I’m not sure why this new self-knowledge concerns me so much.
Possibly because I noticed it in myself after I noticed it in others.
Because I only realised how much it softens sentences out once I test-drove a few without them and heard how unambiguous it makes things sound.
It makes you feel a bit naked to just make a statement.
You don’t like doing it.
Just in case you’re wrong.
Just in case someone who feels more passionately about it takes issue and wants to fight you about a passing comment.

When used too often, qualifiers stop being the escape hatches of conversation and bury your point so deep that it’s hard to tell if you have an opinion at all.

But qualifiers play an important part in the world of NaNoWriMo as they pad out your word count wonderfully when the old inspiration train is late to the station, especially if you let your character stammer and um and ah and change their opinion often enough.
So even if I go ahead with my overall plan to cull qualifiers down to an acceptable level I’m going to let them run wild and breed like rabbits within the confineS of my NaNoWriMo novel.

Another language practice that I test run for last year’s NaNoWriMo was the doing away with contractions.
Don’t became do not.
He’s was always he is.
And so on and so forth.
It is amusing how ye olde this makes some sentences sound.
Especially if you do a blanket search and replace without restructuring the sentence first.
The casual utterance ‘isn’t it?’ becomes a wonderful renn-fair-esque ‘is it not?’
I wonder how long it would take people to ask me what the heck I was getting up to if I stopped using contractions as well.

So to recap, trying to change my habits and customs in the lead up to NaNoWriMo when I should really be expending my energy on planning, getting things tidied up so I don’t have to deal with them during November and catching up with people who will be put out when I either disappear or turn into a gibbering loon… would be unwise and problematic.

I’m still going to do it, of course.

As I said, my brain is hand-crafted from the finest Stupid.

*Or emoticons.
That shit has just gotten out of control.
I must write one hundred times: Emoticons aren’t punctuation.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

You Don't Because You Don't

It's turning warm again.
Warm enough to throw off a couple of the blankets.
Warm enough to sleep with the window open and let the breeze rattle the blinds and startle the cats.
This time of year always makes me pause a moment because sleeping with the windows open used to be banned.
Flat out not allowed.

I didn't know why at the time, I just knew that every night before bed my mother would do the rounds and make sure our bedroom windows were securely shut and remind us in no uncertain terms that they were not, NOT, to be opened again until morning.
Insofar as I thought about it... well, I didn't.
The windows were closed at night.
End of discussion.

Fast-forward a few years to when I was slightly older but still young enough to think that scrunchies were awesome.
It is the hottest spring night in years, it is stifling, but outside there is a gentle movement of air that whilst not any cooler eases some of the oppressiveness.
So I ask my mother if it would be OK to leave my window open.
She says that's fine, seems surprised I even asked.
Even more surprised when I suggest that it's forbidden, isn't it?
I jog her memory.

And she tells me that one summer our town was the location of a string of bizarre assaults.
Almost every night a report would come in of children awaking to find a man crouched at the end of their bed sucking on their toes.
He would run away the moment they screamed and despite the high level of public alert it took weeks to catch him.
And when they did it was the guy who ran our local video store.
We'd been in there once or twice a fortnight for years.
He'd handed out sweets at the counter.
We'd stopped visiting that video store after that.
I hadn't asked why.
But I did keep my window closed.

So it's turning warm again and it's time to put away the winter woolies and pull the pedestal fans out of storage.
And over a decade later I still hesitate just for a moment before leaving my bedroom window open for the night.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Urge To Kill Rising

For her birthday my siblings and I bought my mother three seasons of Get Smart* and whilst I still love the exciting retro spy gadgets and the humour and what not I've discovered that I can't watch more than about two episodes in a row before I start to want to kill 99.
With a brick.

Apart from the fact the come-hither eyes and pouting started to bug me, what really had me twitching was the incompetence! Oh the incompetence!

Example: In one scene 99 and Max are both walking around a darkened building with their guns drawn looking for the villain. The unarmed villain gets the drop on Max, TV-comedy-fu chops him in the arm and disarms him.
99 still has her gun.
And yet in the next scene they are both tied up and awaiting their terrible fate.
Because the man was so scary she forgot she was armed or something.
I don't know.
But there she is tied to a chair yelling 'do something Max!' whilst he waits, much more securely restrained, to have his head cut off.

Just one in a long string of many instances of her being tied to something yelling 'do something Max!' whilst he is in a lot more danger and she has a much better chance of being able to move and save them both.
Despite the fact Max is a bumbling simpleton (not that there's anything wrong with that) and 99 is clearly more rational and observant she continually defers to his 'experience', asks him what to do and takes the backseat.

When, as she was dragged off-scene in one episode crying 'No!' in a tone of voice that resembled nothing more than a toddler throwing a tanty, I found myself yelling at the TV 'Oh if only you were a highly trained secret agent! Oh wait, you are!' I knew it was time to take a time-out.

And that's not even taking into account the episode where she's suddenly quitting CONTROL to marry some guy who proposed to her whilst she was on holidays 'because a girl's got to think of her future'** and keeps asking Max if there's any reason why he might want her to stay.
No, by all means, honey, you try and force him into a relationship by threatening to marry someone else and when he doesn't bite go ahead and almost marry the other guy because you already said you were going to and it's too late now.... Fstfgvr!

I know the show was light entertainment and it was all part of the formula that they crap up all the time and despite his bumbling Max gets to rescue the girl, I just wish that it wasn't also so heavily dependent on her bumbling.
The fact that the show gives the strong impression that her ineptitude was feigned so as to not challenge his masculinity or muddy the waters of her femininity somehow makes me more rather than less angry.
I know that 1965 was a vastly different time to 2008.
Possibly even implying her intelligence existed even if she didn't fully utilise it was progressive and exciting at the time.
But still! Fstfgvr!

Now here's a Don Adams related spy partnership I can get alongside!

Penny may not take credit for saving Inspector Gadget's ass all the time but his ass, she saves it.
All. The. Time.
Also when I was a kid I would have killed someone for a computer book. That thing was bad ass.

Ah, who am I kidding. I'd kill someone now for that computer book.

*Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeey! I've just realised my bastard siblings haven't payed me back yet! Son of a bitch! Crap, sorry Mum, not you! I love you!

**What, and being an awesome spy isn't a future?! Pfft!